America's Pharmacist Article: Transforming Your Pharmacy Marketing Approach
What if there were no televisions, radios or newspapers anymore? How would you go about getting new prescription customers?
It wasn’t that long ago that such a question seemed completely absurd. Today, the movement in that direction is in full force. Television stations are struggling to attract advertisers as more companies streamline their advertising dollars to online advertising where almost 81% of Americans are accessing the Internet every day. A similar declining fate appears for the other two longstanding traditional advertising mediums, radio and newspaper.
This is a serious wave you want to get ahead of rather than hanging back and “doing things the way we’ve always done it,” which is the fast path to fewer customers and lower profits.
Until the last few years, we would get information from reference books, guide books, television and newspaper to name just a few. Today, people are rarely even using the telephone book anymore. Messages disseminated through these older, more traditional mediums are known as outbound marketing: blasting your message outwards hoping that it resonates with that needle in the haystack.
The average person today is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing impressions every day and is figuring out more and more creative ways to block them out, including caller ID, spam filtering, TiVo, and satellite radio. Additionally, the ease of access and freedom to research new items and services from the comfort of one’s own mobile phone, home or office online has made purchasing and comparative shopping much easier for the consumer. Search engines, blogs and social media make the cost of coordination easy for consumers. Analyzing product features, benefits and cost online now compels the consumers in their decision making. No longer are consumers motivated by advertising that is forced upon them, but instead they are driven by the information they seek.
Rather than doing outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out, I advocate doing inbound marketing where you help yourself get found by people already learning about and shopping for products and services that you offer. In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a "hub." Focus on information in the areas that you specialize in that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.
For example, if you want to grow your bio-identical hormone practice, when people go online searching for information about natural hormones in Peoria, IL, your website is one of the top ranked sites that appear on the first page by the search engines.
One analogy I can come up with is that the “traditional way” to garner interest from new potential customers is like lions hunting in the jungle for elephants. Most elephants used to be in the jungle twenty or thirty years ago where they learned their trade, but they are not there anymore.
They have all migrated to the newly found watering holes on the savannah (the internet). So, rather than continuing to hunt in the jungle, I recommend setting up shop at the watering hole or turning your website into its own watering hole. Content is key though. You always need to be updating your site with the latest news and don’t forget to blog frequently.
I believe most marketers today spend 90% of their efforts on outbound marketing and 10% on inbound marketing, and I advocate that those ratios flip. Imagine having a business where customers are attracted to you like nails to a magnet. The good news is that you don’t have to imagine it, it’s already happening.